The San Francisco 49ers were relatively quiet during the first week post-lockout, but as the NFL league year started on August 4, they made two major moves by adding WR Braylon Edwards and then swiping SS Donte Whitner away from the Bengals at the last minute.
Edwards, whose market turned him into a bargain, had his best year since 2007 last year. He’s a big target with downfield skills, which makes him a commodity the 49ers don’t otherwise have. And with Michael Crabtree injured during training camp (again), Edwards has a chance to establish himself as the 49ers’ No. 1 target in 2011. Given the 49ers’ extremely favorable cap situation, a one-year, $3.5 million contract for Edwards is easy to justify. And if Edwards works out by the bay, he could become a longer-term answer.
Whitner was so close to signing with the Bengals that he actually tweeted “Who Dey,” but at the last minute he opted for the 49ers gold – three years, $11.75 million, with a $4 million signing bonus. The former top-10 overall pick in Buffalo has been good but not great in his five NFL seasons. Last year, he did set a career high with 94 tackles. He’s an upgrade over the Reggie Smith/Taylor Mays combo the 49ers had at strong safety last year, but if this signing keeps the 49ers from re-signing FS Dashon Goldson, then the cost was too high.